The Harris Center recognized several exemplary partners and volunteers at our 52nd Annual Meeting on October 21. For this first time, the meeting was offered as a hybrid event, with some Board members, staff, supporters, and friends attending in person, and others attending via Zoom.
Jenn Sutton, 3rd grade teacher at the Pierce School in Bennington, was honored with the Educator of the Year Award for her outstanding teaching and commitment to outdoor education. Cultivating a classroom culture of respect, curiosity, and playfulness, Jenn helps her students become citizens of the natural world through bird activities, caring for hatchling turtles, and more. She is a skilled and enthusiastic educator who engages her students in hands-on, outdoor learning that teaches them to care for the wild world around them.
The Laurie Bryan Partnership Award was presented to the City of Keene for their partnership with the Harris Center on “Big Night detours” at North Lincoln Street and Jordan Road, with Harry McKelvey, Keene’s Transportation and Storm Water Manager, accepting the award on behalf of the City. Keene is the first – and so far, only – community in all of New Hampshire to close roads for the protection of migrating amphibians. Over the past five years, these detours have provided safe passage for thousands of amphibians and offered a safe place for hundreds of people to experience the magic of the spring amphibian migration – including elders, toddlers, and others who would never have felt safe coming out to see amphibians cross a road if that road were open to traffic.
Harriet and Stephen DiCicco were honored with our Volunteers Extraordinaire Award for their energy, creativity, and drive. The couple initiated an innovative fundraising effort to purchase Bob Goodby’s book on local Native American history for more than 40 local schools, and to support a teacher’s workshop given by the Historical Society of Cheshire County on how to best utilize this new educational resource. The DiCiccos also volunteered with the Harris Center in school and afterschool environmental education programs throughout the year, providing our naturalists with much-appreciated assistance.
In addition to these awards, the Harris Center acknowledged our dedicated Board of Trustees, who volunteer their time and talents to help guide our work. Several treasured Board members, all officers, have just completed their six-year terms, and were thanked for their service: Karen Bennett (chair), Jim Hassinger (vice chair), Sandy Greene (treasurer), and Dan Langille (secretary). New trustees Sandy Bibace of Peterborough and Brian Hutchings and Tara Kessler of Hancock were welcomed, and a new slate of officers was recognized: Michael George (chair), Tim Riley (vice chair), Lois Haskins (treasurer), and Daniel Henderson (secretary).
Harris Center Executive Director Jeremy Wilson also remembered beloved supporters who have recently passed away, and thanked all the supporters who make our work possible.